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Old September 27th, 2010, 08:06 AM   #1
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Sony SLT33-55 for 1080i, reliable?

I'll be travelling to Mexico from November to March. I am interested by the new Sony SLT 33 or 55. I am not interested by 24p and will also have my Canon HFs200 , I'd like to be able to match footage if possible (1080i or 30p).
Anybody with experience with this camera and the Alpha lenses system?
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Old September 27th, 2010, 01:44 PM   #2
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Robert -
WAY too early to have any "hands on" experience - these (a33) are barely into the retail channels in the US, and I think many are waiting for the a55 (soon!), myself included.

Most of the "reviews" I've read so far are impressed by the video, I've seen some good samples, but until someone runs it through a set of video specific tests... these new toys are an unknown quantity. Offhand, I need an update to my aging a350, and have a couple lenses I'm looking forward to trying with video - lenses I handpicked for good still performance on a beer budget...

The a55 doesn't appear to be a "perfect" camera, but looks like enough of an upgrade (with video FINALLY!) that I'm going to give it a shot. My primary interest is a camera that can do the shallow DoF, manual control, rack focus "glamour shot" type stuff. And of course improved stills over my older cameras.

I've mixed video from Sony's HX1 (1080 30p) with my other Sony cameras (XR/CX) without major problems (slightly softer, a bit more noise, 30p cadence might look odd in some situations vs. 60i, but no "deal killers" anywhere), I'm guessing you'll have some color tweaking to do between a Sony and a Canon just because they have different "looks".

Hope this helps some, I'm trying to stay on top of these cameras as news comes out, and hopefully will be able to swing an a55 when they become easy to get!
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Old September 27th, 2010, 02:21 PM   #3
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Thanks Dave! I was able to play with the camera for few minutes in a store (A33). It seems just a bit bigger than the GH1 but nos as heavy.
I am concern by the "plastic" feel of the camera and the LCD attachment doesn't feel robust. But I guess Sony know what they are doing.
On the positive side, the focus is really fast and the EVF is just amazing.

Since you are familiar with the Alpha lenses, what would you recommend: the kit lens Sam 18-55 and the Sam 55-200 or the Tamron 18-200 Di II ?

I
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Old September 27th, 2010, 08:12 PM   #4
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I'm a tad nervous about the LCD mount, but it's an interesting new approach - hope it's durable! I like being able to flip the screen and put it towards the body - will save on "in case" scratching!

I've got the Sony version of that Tamron (Tamron makes for them IIRC), the 18-200 is nice, the one I've got is a bit noisy on the focus side of things, which makes me a bit nervous about it for video, but it's a good basic wide range lens, perhaps a bit on the slow side, but for a "one lens to do it all" it's not bad. Remember that the 18-200 is a relatively "slow" lens f-stop wise.

My two favorites are actually older Minoltas - there's a fairly fast 70-210 f3.5-3.5, and the fairly compact 24-105 3.5-4.5 Both are well made, and may be a bit "robust" for these new small cams, but I won't know until I get a body to play with. I noticed that focusing with the older Minoltas seems to be quieter overall, so I'm hoping that will do the trick for video use - the older stuff is good quality and can still be had fairly reasonable if you are patient.

If you want to check out the range of lenses that can be stuck onto an A mount, Dyxum.com has a nearly complete database, only run across a couple off brand lenses that aren't there! Then go hunting on eBay or whatever forums for good used glass!
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Old October 4th, 2010, 02:12 PM   #5
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Just took a look at a Korean review of the a55, couldn't read much, but the pictures and samples were convincing... I'm in... they did have an a580 available to test, and the differences didn't look to be that significant for the stills, although I wished I could see their comments!

The kit lens looks pretty nice, video quality looked quite good overall... and the stills were definitely convincing.

From what I've picked up, you may want to be aware of the heat issues - apparently with the internal super OIS on, you're maxing out at 9 minute clips, and from what's coming out, probably less in "normal" conditions... no big if you aren't shooting long clips, or can turn off the SSS, which should give you more time (maybe up to 29 minutes if the specs are correct, although I'm still leery of heating). Worth being aware of.

I also noticed that the internal mics seemed to overload in one of the clips with some loud audio, and didn't have the best sound... external mic and dual audio system probably a necessity for "serious" shooting. Not a surprise as I've noticed my P&S Sony cameras don't do so well with loud audio... but again, worth being aware of, perhaps an external mic would be better?

Going to go put a couple older cameras up for sale, and get in line for an a55, hopefully they won't be sold out TOO fast, but they appear to be rather popular already!
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Old October 4th, 2010, 03:48 PM   #6
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I read about the heat issue few days ago and it scare me at first, to the point of turning my back to the camera but I am back to it again. I went to the Sony store (I am in Canada fo few weeks and the stores have the 33 and the 55). The camera do feel "plastiky" compare to the Lumix G2 or the Canon, but honestly once you handle it for some time it is just a nice size and a nice weight. The kit lens was very nice with a smooth mechanism and nice light (gorgeous EVF).
The LCD seems the most fragile part , but the camera has so many advantages that I am going for it ( I will buy when back in the US in few weeks).
It seems that the "heat issue" is twice as bad with the 55, since I will be spending several months in Mexico (very hot) and plan to do some short interviews I will probably choose the A33, it is after all the same sensor as the VG10 and the pictures I've seen from it are just amazing.

I have a Nikon F 50mn 1.2; do you know a good adapter for the Alpha mount?
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Old October 5th, 2010, 04:10 AM   #7
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I'm looking forward to the smaller size - it looks to be pretty close to the HX1, which I find very comfortable to use, although I expect the a55 to be a bit more front heavy due to the lenses.

The heat thing worries me, but I figure I won't be handholding (needing SSS) for anything near the max clip length - the cam would be on a tripod, so SSS would be off, and they indicate heat is less of a factor. I hope this turns out to be true in "real world" conditions. If not, I'm guessing the a580 with the larger traditional SLR body may end up being a solution, although it will probably lose some of the AF speed.

Not sure about whether there's a converter - since the a33/55 is an Alpha mount, there isn't that flange distance cushion that has allowed all the adapters for the E mount. IOW, the lens to sensor distance may make an adapter problematic... just not familiar enough with whether it's possible to adapt a Nikon lens or not...
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Old October 6th, 2010, 01:20 AM   #8
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Can anyone confirm if the a55 has full manual controls over exposure when shooting? From what I'm reading, it seems it doesn't?
Also, from what I understand, the PDAF focus only works when wide open, if you stop down (which from fully open is going to be often) you lose auto focus. That is a pretty big negative for me if true. What's the point of face recognition or subject tracking if you lose it half the time?
I don't think the new Lumix GH2 will have that issue, plus it has touch screen focus for pulling, which if works is very cool.
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